Unique Original Articles » The History of Tattoos - Ancient Ink Rediscovered

The History of Tattoos - Ancient Ink Rediscovered

Author: Bob Matheson

Tattoos are a hot topic these days. People get tattoos for diverse reasons. Millions of designs have been applied and continue to be fashioned. But tattoos are not a new obsession. The history of tattoos is a novel, not a short story, and they have been around for a long time.

Oetzi The Iceman

No one is able to truly say exactly when the history of tattoos all started. The oldest established tattoo was exposed in 1991. It was found on a mummy referred to as Oetzi, an Iceman dated to be at least 5300 years of age. His tattoos are comprised of horizontal and vertical lines. There is some dispute as to the reason the tattoos are there.

Upon finding the remains, anthropologists have been able to do little but guess that this most primitive type of tattoo was designed with the intent of warding off evil spirits, or that it might have been some kind of rite-of-passage.

The most widespread view is that the tattoos were applied for remedial factors. Oetzi's fifty-seven tattoos are placed over various joints on the body. The thought is that the tattoos were made at the same time as a type of acupuncture was administered to relieve painful joints. These days, the identical locations are used for acupuncture. Other theories vary from social class and ritual markings to tribal characters or just preference.

Collectively on his backbone and at the back of one knee and on one ankle, the Ice Man had roughly fifty-seven tattoos. Although it's not possible to do more than speculate as to the actual reason for them, it emphatically indicates that tattoos should not be seen as unique to the current period.

As the Ice Man is the most ancient mummified human remains discovered in Europe, tattoo lovers of the current era have history on their side-- there is nothing "contemporary" about the history of tattoos.

Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians have one of the most acknowledged ancient cultures for tattoos. Dating back to 2100 BC, discovered mummies have been found to be adorned in a variety of tattoos. Women displayed tattoo designs that were restricted to females only. These designs were mostly a series of lines and dots around the body. Tattoos among the Egyptians are believed to have been forms of ritual markings.

Oriental Tattoos

In Japan, tattoos had been first employed on clay figures. These human shaped figures represented a deceased individual and have been found in the burying place of the person in whose likeness they had been created. The tattoos were carved or painted on the faces of the figures. It is thought that these designs have religious or magical significance. The figures have been discovered in burying places that have been dated from 3,000 BC.

Japan's earliest recognizable tattoo is from 297 AD and has been demonstrated to be for ornamental purposes only. Tattoo designers were named the "Horis" in Japan. The Horis were recognized as masters and ultimately created the full body suit tattoo.

Although Oriental symbols are extremely common for tattoos in America, it's not widely recognized that both the Japanese and Chinese cultures have maintained a strong opposition to the custom of tattooing throughout history. With both societal and religious viewpoints agreeing that tattooing is a ritual that shouldn't be engaged in, it's still considered to be a way of contaminating one's body. For the ancient Chinese, tattooing was used as a penalty for criminal activity, placing such obvious marks on an individual to forever brand that person as having the status of a criminal.

Tattoos have been found in times past throughout the world. They have been determined to be a representation of an assortment of things such as social rank, religious conviction and many times just for adornment. Found on men and women alike, tattoos are discovered in every shape, dimension and color pattern conceivable. No matter if they've been demonstrated to be something that was once held sacred or they're for adornment only, tattoos have been here for ages and will continue to be here for ages to come.

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